I’m a true mutt!

Dear Journal,

Mama M. called me a “true mutt” last night. I liked the word “true”, just not so sure about the “mutt” part. I’d like to think that I came from sort of royal blood lines, with noble and dignified traits carefully chosen by my former human. The possibility that I might have been an “accident” really put me in funk last night. But both Mamas pointed out that most people think of a pedigreed dog as a status symbol for their humans, and that made me feel a lot better. We had a vigorous game of chase-the-squeaky-toy afterwards, and I was grinning from ear to ear like a jackal.

This morning, Mama L. offered to look up the meaning of the word “mutt”, although I still preferred the term “mixed-breed”. Here are a few highlights:

  • Some trainers believe mixed-breeds exhibit higher average intelligence than purebreds (without a doubt in my case!)
  • Studies that have been done in the area of health show that mixed-breeds on average are both healthier and longer-lived than their purebred cousins (and I can outrun ANY dog at the Dog Park!)
  • Studies have shown that cross-bred dogs have a number of desirable reproductive traits (hummm, I guess I’ll never find out for sure now….)
  • Mixed-breed dogs often exhibit unique appearances. People who enjoy mixed-breeds, often value their one-of-a-kind appearance and characteristics (just look at cute I am!)

There’s some sort of discrimination against us mixed-breeds until very recently. Mama L. said it wasn’t until the early 1980s that we were even allowed to compete in dog sports. She quoted an excerpt from her favorite site (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed-breed_dog):

“Mixed-breed dogs can excel at dog sports, such as obedience, dog agility, flyball, and frisbee. Often, highly energetic mixed-breeds are left with shelters or rescue groups, where they are sought by owners with the caring, patience, and drive to train them for dog sports, turning unwanted dogs into healthy, mentally and physically stimulated award winners.

Until the early 1980s, mixed-breed dogs were usually excluded from obedience competitions. However, starting with the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry (AMBOR) and the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (MBDCA), which created obedience venues in which mixed-breed dogs could compete, more opportunities have opened up for all dogs in all dog sports. Most dog agility and flyball organizations have always allowed mixed-breed dogs to compete. Today, mixed-breeds have proved their worth in many performance sports.

In conformation shows, where dogs’ conformation to a breed standard is evaluated, mixed-breed dogs normally cannot compete. For purebred dogs, their physical characteristics are judged against a single breed standard. Mixed-breed dogs, however, are difficult to classify except according to height; there is tremendous variation in physical traits such as coat, skeletal structure, gait, ear set, eye shape and color, and so on. When conformation standards are applied to mixed-breed dogs, such as in events run by the MBDCA, the standards are usually general traits of health, soundness, symmetry, and personality. The Kennel Club (UK) operates a show called Scruffts (a name derived from its prestigious Crufts show) open only to mixed-breeds in which dogs are judged on character, health, and temperament. Some kennel clubs, whose purpose is to promote purebred dogs, still exclude mixed-breeds from their performance events. The AKC and the FCI are two such prominent organizations. While the AKC does allow mixed-breed dogs to earn their Canine Good Citizen award, mixed-breed dogs are not permitted to enter AKC “all breed” events.”

Well, all the more reason I’m proud to be a true mutt! At least in my Mamas’ eyes, I’m beautiful.

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